Kwa-Giulth Thunderbird and Killerwhale

About this object

History of use

Northwest Coast serigraphs are a contemporary art form, deriving from early 20th century drawings of traditional crest and decorative designs, commissioned by anthropologists and undertaken by artists such as Charles Edenshaw. Residential schools reinforced the medium, while discouraging the use of traditional themes. An important series of traditional designs in coloured pencil and watercolour were done by Mungo Martin for UBC in 1949-50. The 1960's saw the rapid growth of prints, first in unlimited poster editions, and later with the establishment of the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art at 'Ksan (1967), and of the Northwest Coast Indian Artists Guild (1977), limited edition art runs became the standard. Northwest Coast silkscreen prints are part of the mainstream art market, as well as, functioning within the native context as potlatch gifts, and commemorative prints. Although, there are distinctive regional styles, individual artists may work in several styles, or apply unique themes and variations to specific works.

Cultural context

contemporary art

Physical description

Stylized profile figures in black form lines, ovoids, etc. With orange-yellow, dark red, and green details. Bird surmounts whale with a head on the right side, a black salmon-trout head in the eye surrounded by a green area, a red outlined open mouth, even teeth with two black canines, and a red 'nose' with a curl. Curved body is a series of three black ovoids with red and black salmon-trout heads in each, two orange-yellow circles between, and an orange-yellow then a red line to the outside of the inner curve. Pectoral fin at inner curve has an ovoid followed by a u form and a smaller u form, inner ovoids split u's, and hachure lines in red and green. Head at tail with a u-shaped crest. Two 'dorsal' fins along the back with red and orange-yellow details. Head at blowhole within the bird's open mouth. Bird has hooked orange-yellow beak, a circular black pupil and eye outlined by a tapering oval surrounded by a green area, a black curl above the eye, a u-shaped crest with form line extension ending in a red in black circle. Large three segment wing above and parallel to the body. Ovoid at the top with salmon-trout head surrounded by a green area followed by two red split u's with orange-yellow ovoids, followed by two green linked ovoids before variously detailed segments. Series of offset red u's in rows with a large face at the centre, an orange-yellow area around the eye, a red mouth, and even teeth rows. Tail has an ovoid at the base containing a salmon-trout head followed by two red split u's in an expanded ovoid with three u forms at the end. Lower bent limb has four-clawed foot clutching dorsal fin on left. Pencil inscription along the bottom edge reads 'Dwayne Simeon KWA-GIULTH THUNDERBIRD AND KILLER WHALE 72/150/79'. The print is on a vertically rectangular, heavy, white paper stock.